Wed, 22 Dec by Georgina Burkholder

Nothing says it better than this humorous but “true” series of photos of actual defects and questionable home improvements, presented by HomeCrafters.   Click on the photos to make them bigger.


Mon, 13 Dec by Georgina Burkholder

RENTAL INVESTORS TAKE NOTE!  Rental apartment vacancies have dropped to 3.6% in Calgary.  This will firm up rental rates and make the purchase of rental units much more attractive.  I have seen some great deals on townhouse condos that could be ideal investments.

Recovery pushes down Calgary rental vacancy rates

By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald December 10, 2010 Comments (11)

CALGARY – The rental apartment vacancy rate and average rent in the Calgary census metropolitan area both dropped in the past year.

In its Rental Market Survey released Thursday, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said the Calgary CMA vacancy rate in October was 3.6 per cent compared with 5.3 per cent the same time last year.

Meanwhile the average rent per month for a two-bedroom apartment had dropped to $1,069 from $1,099 in October 2009.

“Our occupancy has increased so our vacancy has declined year-over-year which reflects the CMHC (report),” said Sam Kolias, chief executive of Calgary-based property manager Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust. The company’s occupancy rate is about 97 per cent.

“The big part of vacancy now in the market is in the individual condominiums. If you look at Kijiji, there are over 2,500 rental opportunities both condominium and apartments. And we believe our biggest competitive advantage is our price. So we can price a lot lower than newly developed condominiums that investors have purchased and are leasing out.”

The CMHC survey is consistent with Boardwalk’s results of lower vacancy in lower-priced inventory that is older versus newly built condos that are higher in price and experiencing higher vacancy, added Kolias.

Nationally, the average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada’s 35 major centres decreased slightly to 2.6 per cent in October from 2.8 per cent in October 2009.

“The economic recovery that has taken place over the past year has boosted demand for both rental and ownership housing,” said Bob Dugan, chief economist with the CMHC. “High levels of immigration have supported demand for rental housing, thus pushing the vacancy rate lower.

“In addition, improving economic conditions have likely boosted household formation which, in turn, has added to the demand for rental housing. These two factors combined, have put downward pressure on the vacancy rate.”

On a provincial basis, the highest vacancy rates were in Alberta (4.6 per cent) and New Brunswick (4.5 per cent).

The Canadian average two-bedroom rent was up from $836 in 2009 to $860 in 2010. The highest average monthly rents were in Vancouver ($1,195), Toronto ($1,123), Calgary ($1,069), Ottawa-Gatineau (Ontario part, $1,048), Victoria ($1,024), and Edmonton ($1,015). Of all the major centres, only these six had average rents at or above $1,000.

CMHC’s fall Rental Market Survey also found that the rental apartment availability rate in Canada’s 35 major centres was 3.8 per cent in October, down from 4.1 per cent in October 2009. A rental unit is considered available if the unit is vacant (physically unoccupied and ready for immediate rental), or if the existing tenant has given or received notice to move and a new tenant has not signed a lease.

In the Calgary region, the availability rate was 5.8 per cent, down from 7.5 per cent a year ago.

Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for the CMHC, said improvements in labour market conditions and recent gains in provincial net migration have contributed to higher demand for rental accommodations. “The average two-bedroom rent in October experienced a modest decline compared to a year earlier,” said Cho.

“Although vacancies decreased over the past year, they are still slightly elevated, inhibiting rent increases. Property owners and landlords are also experiencing competition from the secondary rental market.”

The CMHC report said the number of apartments in the Calgary CMA has declined for the seventh consecutive year to 35,512 units from 36,174 in 2009.

“Apartment condominium conversions have declined for three consecutive years after reaching a peak in 2007,” said the report. “Softer growth in condominium prices and an elevated supply of condominium units in the new and resale home markets have reduced the number of rental conversions to condominiums.”


© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Recovery+pushes+down+Calgary+rental+vacancy+rates/3951261/story.html#ixzz181ZcevxW

November 2010 and Year to Date Average Price Chart

Wed, 08 Dec by Georgina Burkholder

You will notice that compared to 2009, our average prices remain slightly lower than fall of last year.  Click on the link below to view the chart.


Growth Expected In Spring 2011

Wed, 01 Dec by Georgina Burkholder

‘Modest’ growth expected in spring

 By Marty Hope, Calgary Herald November 20, 2010

The grace period is over. Old Man Winter has arrived — and ain’t it wonderful.

I jest, of course.

I guess if you’re a skier or boarder, the snow is a welcome sight. But those of us strapped to the couch — except for the time spent shovelling or doing our Wii exercises — are likely seriously planning a trip to Vegas, Phoenix or Hawaii.

After that, it’s time to think spring again.

So it is for single-family home builders in and around Calgary — although spring will likely come late next year, with forecasters predicting the return of the rugged winters of our youth.

Spring is a time of optimism and renewal — at least, so the saying goes.

For single-family home builders in and around Calgary, next spring will be worth the wait, says Richard Cho, senior market analyst for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Detached single-family home construction will increase at a “modest” rate, he says. The delay is because the oversupplied resale housing market is still there — and what’s worse, sales are down.

A note here: while the traditional seasonal decline in listings is underway, there are still more than 6,000 resale homes (both condos and detached single-family homes) on the market, says the Calgary Real Estate Board.

Construction of detached single-family homes will likely initially be held back by the elevated level of active resale listings — a situation that will remain for the early part of next year, says Cho.

“However, activity will pick up in the later half of the year as demand improves and the market becomes more balanced,” he says.

After bottoming out at less than 4,400 homes in 2008, builders put up nearly 4,800 homes in 2009 and are forecast to construct 5,900 by the end of this year.

For 2011, the outlook is for 6,100. Not a big increase, but what the heck; it is an increase — the third straight.

The story isn’t so good for the multi-family housing sector, says CMHC in its fall housing market outlook.

Following a year when multi-family housing construction declined to its lowest level since 1996, construction starts — which include semidetached units, townhouses, and apartments — are on pace to reach 3,200 units in 2010, up from 1,543 units in 2009.

In its report, CMHC says higher construction starts for all three multi-family dwelling types in 2010, in particular apartment units, will contribute to the increase.

“With apartment inventories expected to remain elevated moving into 2011, apartment builders will look to reduce their inventory levels and increase their presales prior to starting major projects,” says Cho.

So the end result is that construction starts of multifamily housing are expected to decline 13 per cent to 2,800 units in 2011, down from an expected 3,200 units in 2010.

But even here, there is good news with the announcement of three major highrises being built — Keynote by Keynote, Drake by Grosvenor, and the three-tower Bosa development in East Village.

As for the resale market, sales by the end of this year are forecast to decline 18 per cent year-over-year to 20,300 units. Next year, though, comes a gradual improvement. Stronger growth in employment and net migration will help support demand for used homes, as will improved wage gains, says Cho.

The growth in sales will be modest in 2011, as sales are expected to reach 20,700 units, up two per cent from 2010.

They say good things are worth waiting for — and spring is just five months away.


– – –


2008 2009 2010** change 2011** change

-Detached starts* 4,387 4,775 5,900 23.6% 6,100 3.4%

-Multi-family starts 7,051 1,543 3,200 107.4% 2,800 -12.5%

-Total starts 11,438 6,318 9,100 44% 8,900 -2.2%

-MLS sales 23,136 24,880 20,300 -18.4% 20,700 2%

-New listings 56,187 41,640 47,000 12.9% 48,000 2.1%

-Average price $405,267 $385,882 $399,000 3.4% $401,000 0.5%

– Start of construction for detached single-family homes ** Forecast Source: CMHC

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Modest+growth+expected+spring/3860204/story.html#ixzz16tJYdU2L

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.